Filipe M. Costa Vaz| November 13, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




More than 3500 individual pieces of waterlogged archaeobotanical remains were found in the excavation of the Roman healing spa of Aquae Flaviae (Chaves, Portugal), carried out between 2006 and 2013. Most of these were recovered in stratigraphic units sealed by the brick barrel vault collapse in last decade of the 4th century AD.
The waterlogged material studied, included several types of archaeobotanical remains: timber used for construction (beams, poles, boards and wedges), wooden objects (combs, bowls and containers, corks, handles, spindle whorls, etc.) and macro carpological remains (seeds, fruits, pine scales and cones, etc.).
The study of the wood assemblage was focused firstly on the identification of the material selected for woodworking and also on providing answers regarding the technical and technological features used in manufacturing these items. Regarding fruits and seeds, the analysis was oriented towards macro remains species identification.
A selection of species for specific purposes was clearly identified both in timber pieces and in several types of objects as well as the carving of specific features in these pieces according to its function. Active management of wood resources could also be inferred. Furthermore, relevant information was gathered concerning the presence of Pinus pinea, Castanea sativa, Buxus sempervirens and several species of the Prunus family, which show great importance on a regional or supra regional levels. The first presence of cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens) during Roman times in western Iberia was also identified.


After finishing a degree in Archaeology in 2010 (University of Porto) and a Master’s degree in Archaeobotany in 2012 (University of Porto, CIBIO-InBIO) I have since joined several research projects in Archaeobotany within CIBIO’s Environmental Archaeology research group.
My research activity focuses on the characterization of the relations between past human communities and their environmental surroundings - specifically vegetal landscapes - through the analysis of charred and waterlogged wooden remains recovered in archaeological sites.
Funded by a FCT grant, my PhD program started in September 2015 and centers on the study of samples from several roman archaeological sites in NW Iberia with the objective of understanding how these populations managed and used wooden resources in different contexts such as funeral pyres, fireplaces, hearts and ovens.


Image credits: Filipe M. Costa Vaz